STA, 14 July 2022 - Employers wanting to hire workers from abroad are unhappy over how long it takes for the required paperwork to be approved, a round table debate hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Gospodarska zbornica Slovenije - GZS) heard on Thursday. This is costing Slovenia a workforce it desperately needs, they said.
GZS representatives want the government to intervene and enable faster issuance of work permits. However, Labour Ministry official Grega Malec said the existing procedure was good and that the ministry was not thinking about making any interventions.
Employers also want Slovenia to strike new bilateral labour agreements.
Matevž Frangež, a state secretary at the Economy Ministry, said the debate showed changes must be made. His ministry is addressing the issues with a task force bringing together relevant ministries. He believes procedures must not be too complicated, but warned against abolishing safeguards.
Frangež believes there is room for improvement within the existing framework, also mentioning changes to administrative unit jurisdiction rules and the establishment of what he called a "virtual administrative unit" to handle work permit application backlogs.
Aleksander Vojičić, the head of the Administrative Unit Service of the Interior Ministry, said the problem lay in the lack of appropriately trained staff. At the end of last year, more were hired and backlogs have started to decrease, he said.
He added that the service had tried to change jurisdiction rules for administrative units, but "the response was not good". Sabina Hrovatin of the Migrations Directorate was critical of this option, saying the rules had their purpose: a local administrative unit knows the local employers best.
Meanwhile, Anton Pirih the head of Foreign Ministry's visa department believes procedures have to be simplified and safeguards relaxed.